A/N: This is the Teaser to the sequel of my other AU Season 3 Buffy fanfic, The River. If you haven't read The River you might get a little lost. I summed up most of the plot in the following "Previously" chapter but I would still recommend reading it for all the finer details and possible call backs.
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Buffy (serious): "Make the trade"
Faith: "Can you believe this guy?! Princess Margaret wants to keep that box AND the redhead."
Wilkins (chuckling): "Some people just don't understand the principles of trade."
Faith: "Yeah…but I think that's a great idea"
Faith stabs the Mayor with her knife. Then looks surprised as he regenerates.
An angry Mayor grabs Wesley by his lapels.
Wilkins: "What did you do to her?"
Willow: "A Sleeper mind spell from the Dewittian Grimoire?!"
Giles advances angrily towards Wesley.
Giles: "You took advantage of your authority and deliberately forced one of your charges under such a spell"
Wesley: "The Council had already decided that Faith was dangerously unstable. This plan was the only way I could convince them to give Faith a fighting chance."
Buffy sits down by Faith.
Buffy: "So you're helping us now,"
Faith (smiling): "The Chosen two, wiping vamps off the face of the earth."
The Mayor surprises the Scoobies at the library.
Wilkins: "Mr. Pryce, you think you were so smart. You took away my sweet Faith. That is something I cannot forget."
Faith gets chased and run over by a car.
Faith lies with a leg cast in a Hospital bed.
Faith: "So, did I stake Don Vito's vamp kid or something?"
Xander: "More like you're Connie and the Don wants you back."
Buffy falls to her knees as she hopelessly watches a black sedan drive away with Faith.
Buffy grabs the Mayor and slams him against a limo.
Buffy: "Where is she? Where's Faith?"
Wilkins: "My Faithy is where she should be. And I'll make sure she's never near the likes of you."
Buffy (angry): "You touch her, and I break you."
Giles: "The Mayor will most undoubtedly want to convert Faith back into the girl he remembered."
Faith is in near darkness, shackled to a metal chair.
Faith: "That wasn't me you know."
Wilkins (chuckling): "That is where everyone is very wrong."
Wilkins: "Now Faithy, this might feel uncomfortable but I assure you it's necessary."
The Mayor grabs a pair of clamps.
Faith: "What are you doing?! Stop!"
The clamps lock Faith's eyelids open. Faith screams.
Joyce Summers looks down at a cut up picture of Xander and Willow.
Joyce: "Oh dear God."
A swirling desert. A kneeling Buffy looks up at Kendra.
Kendra: "Choosa right."
Buffy, on the ground, being choked by a pale demon kneeling. From behind, hands grab its neck and snap it. The demon is tossed aside. Buffy smiles up at Faith.
Wesley (desperate): "Has Faith seen Buffy?!"
Willow: "What is this about? Why is it so bad if she'd seen her?
Wesley: "Buffy's the command."
Buffy crashes through the wooden doors of a mansion.
Buffy (horrified): "No"
Faith: "A world of yeah."
Buffy: "This isn't you, Faith! You're confused."
Faith: "Confused? I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!"
Faith: "C'mon Wesley. Tell 'em. Tell 'em what happened that night."
Faith holds up Wesley over a harbor.
Faith: Fuck you, Wesley.
Wesley stabs a syringe on her neck. Faith drops on his arms.
Wesley: "I wanted to save you….so I made the other one."
A bloody tear drips down Faith's cheek.
Faith: "You didn't want to save me. You just wanted a doll."
Giles roughly grabs Wesley.
Giles: "And just when were you going to tell us about this?
Wesley: "I was giving her a chance to start anew!"
Giles: "Like a puppet?!"
Wesley: "No! She's not a puppet! She's free! She's her own person."
Buffy: "Bring her back, Will."
Willow nods at Buffy.
Wesley: "Without the visual sleep command she's lost."
Willow looking up at a large portrait of a woman. A necklace of a blooming Gardenia around her neck.
Willow: "I have a pretty good idea what it is."
Angel holding Faith on a full nelson.
Angel: "Wesley was wrong in the way he brought this on, but he still gave you a chance to see that you can fix your life."
Angel crashes against an armoire. Faith stands over him with a broken chair leg.
Faith: "Guess you're the one getting fixed."
Buffy punches Faith in the face.
Buffy: "Don't get too comfortable. Faith needs that body back."
Faith: "You little bitch!"
Giles: "You're opening a gate?"
Wesley: "The circle of violence. Being immortal won't save him if he is trapped."
Wesley: "The Circle will only punish the guilty."
A black putrid blob forms into a giant bull skull.
Black branches explode from ground under Angel and wrap around his legs.
Giles, struggling to keep Xander, Oz, Cordelia and Angel from being swallowed into the Bull Skull.
Giles: "Shut the gate Wesley!"
Wesley (distraught): "I..I can't!"
An utterly battered Buffy struggles to get up.
Faith: "Man, you just don't give up."
Buffy: "She promised…to stay."
Faith roughly lifts up Buffy.
Faith: "Why her?! Why her and not me, huh?!"
Willow in a balcony throwing something.
Willow: "Buffy, catch!"
Buffy snatches it.
Buffy stumbles, looks down. Faith had stabbed her.
From between Buffy's fingers swings a blooming Gardenia necklace.
Faith's eyes dilate.
Willow and Anya run towards the fallen Buffy. A shaking Faith backs away.
The Mayor watching on with glee as the black branches almost swallow his enemies.
Wilkins: "You should have read the fine print, Watcher! The keeper will not stop until he gets that tainted soul."
The Mayor gets tackled down. It's Faith.
Wesley: "What are you doing?!"
Faith: "I'm getting my redemption!"
The black branches wrap around the Mayor and Faith. They get drag towards the open mouth of the giant bull skull.
Faith (whispering): "Just let me go."
The mouth crashed down her.
Wesley: "No! No!"
Wesley kneeling before a great empty pit.
Wesley: "….I tried to do my best."
Buffy, waking up on a hospital bed.
Xander: "Buffy, you're okay!
Buffy: "So…where's Faith?"
And now for the really late premiere….
-Chp. 1: The Come-out-
A broom held by Rupert Giles swept away the dust of a smooth tiled floor. Behind a counter, the cash register dinged as Anya secured a sale. Further back on a table, Willow, Tara and Dawn quietly flipped pages as they perused a variety of books. Xander munched on a donut and dropped crumbs on the smooth tiled floor. Outside, people walked, cars drove by, and a motorcycle roared. Together, all the sounds merged into a hum that buzzed in the background of a typical lazy afternoon at Sunnydale's Magic Box.
But for some, this typical afternoon with all its typical routines inspired quite an atypical moment.
A hand slid Ward's Die Daemon Dichotomy into its proper alphabetical perch on the book case. It was in the midst of this mundane and tedious task that Buffy stuttered as the thoughts that had been tormenting her mind lately all came together and fused into a single terrible conclusion.
She was going to lose.
No matter what she did, all roads led to Glory. And she, the Slayer, the champion of the light, was not enough to stop her. This was the end.
The chime of the door's bells broke through the hum, and a customer started walking in when Anya noticed them and uttered a despondent "Oh no."
By the study table, Dawn looked over and let out a small gasp. Giles' sweeping stopped. And the ruminating Buffy tensed while a dreadful feeling washed over her. This was it. Glory knew.
Determined to give out one final heroic battle, Buffy swiftly turned around to face the intruder.
For a moment she stood still. She didn't quite know what to think, because standing by the door carrying a pink helmet was a woman in the worst clothing ensemble she'd ever seen worn. The strappy heels and pant suit would have looked classy and fashionable were it not for the fact they were a little big on her. Add in the men's leather jacket and weird bulky sunglasses, and she could have been one of the newly rambling crazies that plagued Sunnydale lately.
But then the woman smiled and Buffy's heart skipped.
Suddenly tremulous, Buffy took a step forward—but surprisingly Anya had beaten her to the woman.
"Hi, welcome to the Magic Box. Where we exchange goods for money." she said while giving the frumpy woman a suspicious once over. "Do you actually possess any of it? Because if you don't you'll need to leave."
"Anya!" sputtered Giles while the woman looked on in bafflement.
"What? It's a valid question. She looks homeless."
But before Anya could interrogate the stranger further somebody brushed past her.
In a daze, Buffy had reached the pair and moved in front of Anya. The strange woman watched her approach and almost seemed to be holding her breath. Now so close, Buffy's mind was screaming at her in recognition. She raised a shaky hand, and slowly, almost gently, brushed her fingertips over a dimpled cheek.
The woman gave a nervous chuckle.
"Hey." she whispered.
Buffy remained silent because at the moment she couldn't find a way to vocalize the many thoughts and feelings storming her mind. The wonder. The hope. The happiness.
Buffy's caressing hand moved higher towards the sunglasses. Suddenly, the woman had grabbed the daring hands and it was then that Buffy noticed the blooming Gardenia tattooed on the back of the woman's hand. There was a pause, then the woman released Buffy's hand and nudged it up With that silent acknowledgement, Buffy continued.
Everyone at the Magic Box watched transfixed as Buffy grasped the sunglasses. They were weird, like safety glasses with thick red lenses that completely covered and obscured the eyes. She pulled them off and couldn't contain a small whimper as she took in the familiar face. Though the woman had shut her eyes tight, Buffy would recognize her even with the new harlequin scars bisecting her eyelids.
"Y-yeah B. I uh…sorry I broke my promise. Candy on me, this time?"
Stunned, it took Buffy a second to take it in. This lack of response made the blinded Faith lose a little of her confidence.
Then suddenly Faith stumbled back as Buffy tackled her and crushed her into a desperate hug. Soon, she felt the blonde shake and Buffy's happy crying sobs started filling the Magic Box. With Buffy holding on to her, Faith finally dared to open her eyes and was greeted by the astonished faces of the rest of the Scoobies. Her posture relaxed as an invisible weight was unloaded.
She was home.
~ . [ • ] [ • ]
A hand flipped a set of keys over and over.
Leaning against a Harley across the street from the Magic Box, a somber and disheveled Wesley watched the tearful reunion through the shop's windows. A black 1967 Plymouth with the top on parked behind him, but Wesley paid it no mind.
From the driver's window, Cordelia's head leaned out, her face sporting some healing bruises.
"C'mon Wes." she said gently. "Time to go."
Wesley still kept his watch.
She sighted then looked over her shoulder where in the darkness of the back seat the face of Angel peered back.
"Do you think we're choosing right?" she asked.
"I think we're choosing. Whether right or wrong..."
"Glad we're feeling confident then." Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Not like the fate of the world depends on it."
Wesley flipped the keys one more time, and then hooked them on one of the bike's clutch levers. He then walked towards his waiting friends. As soon as he got on, Cordelia pulled out.
A tense silence covered the car for several minutes until Angel decided to break it.
"You gave her the Pink one?"
-To be Continued